From the Archive: Where are they now, ex-bank CEOs
By Oludare Mayowa
In furtherance of our promise to relieve your weekend with some soft stories from the archive, we are bringing you the memorable recollections of events in the nation’s banking industry in 2001. The article below was first published in my regular Wednesday column; Banking Tit-Bits in the old Daily Times of January 10, 2001.
It was the story that brought back a great memory of a man who was one of the best in his time, as the chief executive of First Bank Plc back then, he lifted the bank to great and lofty heights in terms of returns on investment, boost customers experience and widen both the investor relations and general perception of the bank during his tenure.
However, he was succeeded by a man who was a direct opposite of his person in many ways and the bank and its many shareholders were the worst for it. The bank is yet to recover from the misadventure of the boardroom change ever since. In continuation of our promise to bring to you some interesting stories from the archive, this is one story that you will like to read and enjoy. #GFDNews
It was the President of the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers in Banks (ACAMB), Alhaji Waheed Olagunju in one of our recent telephone conversations that mentioned one of his friends who he described as one of the finest gentlemen in the country today.
According to him, the man was one of the rare Nigerians who do not use and dump their friends as is the practice with many.
I will resist the temptation to mention the name of the retired Nigerian Airways boss being referred to by Olagunju, but one thing that struck me about the narrative was the way the ACAMB boss described his friend as, “a rare gentleman.”
Indeed, Chris Adimorah, the erstwhile chief executive officer of First Bank of Nigeria Plc falls into such rare description of; “a rare gentleman.”
This is a man who changed the face of First Bank within the shortest period and enhanced shareholders’ value and rewards on their investment in the bank during his tenure.
His tenure recorded tremendous success, in terms of profitability, improved staff management relationship and quality service delivery to customers.
Today, his successor, Bernard Longe is still struggling to measure up to the standard he set.
Anyway, of late Adimorah’s name has featured prominently in the list of those that have been penciled down for the plump job at the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) by the government.
With the kind of structural changes announced by the government in respect of the bank, the choice of Adimorah may not be off target after all.
•GFD editor note: Adimorah was eventually not selected for the job due to politics and intrigues in the polity, while his successor at the First Bank, Bernard Longe was booted out of his position barely three years on the seat by the board of the bank. He was found culpable in the violation of the regulatory bank’s rule on exposure to a single obligor. The bank granted N96.2 million facility to Investors International (London) limited, the precursor of Globalcom, which violated the recommended limit to a single obligor and was also in contravention of the board approval.
NIDB was later transformed to the present Bank of Industry (BoI), where Olagunju retired as Executive Director, having served twice as its acting chief executive. Again, Olagunju too was denied the opportunity of becoming the substantial chief executive by power play in the polity.